• Zia Akhtar Gray’s Inn Coventry University, UK



Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Procedural Law, Substantive Law, Swiss Law, Swiss Federal Tribunal, International Olympic Committee, Independence of Arbitrators, Jurisdiction, Public Policy, Rule Against Bias


The kinetic energy that goes into sports competition is healthy and dynamic and should promote goodwill between nations. There is a presumption that sports politics impinges on the judgments of the sports adjudicating body, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), in determining appeals in their rulings on the validity of results in international sports competitions. The CAS system for arbitration has rules that follow the lex loci arbitri and its procedures conform to the Swiss Private International law in appeals to the Swiss Federal Tribunal for athletes. The jurisdiction of CAS has to conform to the principles of natural justice when appeals from athletes who have disputes with international sports federations are brought to its attention. This is of particular concern when the national federations of developing countries are involved in sanctioning or supporting athletes who have encountered discrimination.  The research question in this paper is whether the CAS exercised procedural justice when the adjudication process involved athletes who had been banned from competition and if the rulings were in accordance with fairness and impartiality. The recourse to the European Court of Human Rights, Article 6.1, has been in sharp focus and the judgments of the court on public hearings and the role of quasi-tribunals need to be structured in accordance with natural justice. This paper argues that the CAS process should increase the scope of procedural justice by granting a fair hearing and by being seen as bias free.  


Arroyo, Manuel. Arbitration in Switzerland the Practitioner’s Guide, 2nd edition. Alphen aan den Rijn: Kluwer Law International, 2018.

ASA Bull. 1993, p. 398; translated in: Mealey’s I.A.R. 10 (October 1993): 12, with a comment by Jan Paulsson.

Barak, Efraim, and Koolard, Dennis. “Match fixing. The aftermath of Pobeda- what have the past four years brought us”. Bulletin TAS, CAS 1 (2014): 5-24.

Berger Bernhard, and Franz Kellerhals. International and Domestic Arbitration in Switzerland, 2nd edition. Bern: Stämpfli, 2021.

Blackshaw Ian. “The Rules of Natural Justice: What Are They and Why Are They Important in Sports Disciplinary Cases?”. International Sports Law Journal 9, no. 1-2 (2009):134–135.

Dimeo, Paul, and Verener Møller. The anti-doping crisis in sport: causes, consequences, solutions. New York: Routledge, 2008.

Duval, Antoine and Antonio Rigozzi. Yearbook of International Sports Arbitration. The Hague: T.M.C. Asser Press & Springer, 2017.

Efverström, Anna and Asa Bäckström. “Different societies, different conditions: Lessons from anti-doping in elite-sport on a global level”. In: Doping in sport, doping in society - Lessons, themes and connections: Book of abstracts. Paper presented at International Network for Doping Research (INDR), 24th and 25th of August, (2017), Aarhus, Denmark. Aarhus University, Department of Public Health.

Holzer Lena. “The decision of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court in the Caster Semenya Case: A Human Rights and Gender Analysis”. Opinio Juris. Accessed October 9, 2023.

Kayser, Bengt, Alexandre Mauron, and Andy Miah. “Current anti-doping policy: a critical appraisal”. BMC Medical Ethics 8, no. 2 (2007): 1-10.

Lindholm, Johan, The Court of Arbitration for Sport and its Jurisprudence: An Empirical Inquiry into Lex Sportiva, The Hague: T.M.C. Asser Press & Springer, 2019.

Mahomed Sofia, and Ames Dhai. “Global injustice in sport: The Caster Semenya ordeal – prejudice, discrimination and racial bias“. South African Medical Journal 109, no. 8 (2019): 548-551.

Mavromati, Despina and Matthieu Reeb. Code of the Court of Arbitration for Sport: Commentary, Cases & Materials, Alhen aan den Rijn, Kluwer Law International, 2015.

McArdle, David. Dispute Resolution in Sport, Athletes, Law and Arbitration, 1st edition, Oxon: Routledge, 2015.

Mclaren, Richard. “CAS doping jurisprudence, What can we learn?”. ISLR 6, no. 1 (2006):4-22.

Nafziger, James and Ryan Gauthier. Handbook on International Sports Law, 2nd edition. Glos: Edward Elgar, 2022.

Portman, Wolfgang. “Unilateral option clauses in Footballer’s contracts of employment: An assessment from the perspective of International Sports Arbitration”. ISLR 7, no. 1 (2007): 6-16.

Rigozzi, Antonio. “International Sports Arbitration: Why does Swiss Law Matter?”. In Citius, altius, fortius - Mélanges en l'honneur de Denis Oswald, edited by Antonio Rigozzi, Dominique Sprumont, Yann Hafner, 439. Basel: Helbing Lichtenhahn Verlag, 2012.

Sethna, Rustam. “A data analysis of the arbitrators, cases, and sports at the court of arbitration for sport”. Law in Sport, 2019. Accessed May 16, 2020.

Star, Shaun, Sarah Kelly. “A level playing field in anti-doping disputes? The need to scrutinize procedural fairness at first instance hearings”. International Sports Law Journal 21, no. 1-2 (2021): 94–117.

Taylor, Jonathan and Adam Lewis. Sports: Law and Practice, 4th edition, London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2021.

Viret, Marjolaine. “Using interdisciplinary tools to improve anti-doping: utopia or necessity?”. International Sports Law Journal 20, no. 1-2 (2020): 82-113.

Voser, Katherine, and Nathalie Bell. “Swiss Supreme Court confirms requirement under Swiss law to timely and expressly file objection to jurisdiction”, November 16, 2016.

CAS 2005/A/951 Guillermo Cañas v. ATP Tour, revised award of 23 May 2007.

CAS 2009/A/1752 Vadim Devyatovskiy v. International Olympic Committee (IOC) & CAS 2009/A/1753 Ivan Tsikhan v. IOC, award of 10 June 2010.,%201753.pdf.

CAS 2009/A/1920 FK Pobeda, Aleksandar Zabrcanec, Nikolce Zdraveski v. UEFA, award of 15 April 2010.

CAS 2010/A/1996 Omer Riza v. Trabzonspor Kulübü Dernegi & Turkish Football Federation (TFF), award of 10 June 2010.

CAS 2010/A/2083, UCI v. Jan Ullrich & Swiss Olympic, award of 9 February 2012.

CAS 2011/O/2422, United States Olympic Committee (USOC) v. International Olympic Committee (IOC), award of 4 October 2011.

CAS 2011/A/2435, South Africa: WADA v. Gert Thys, Athletics South Africa and South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport, award of 30 November 2011.

CAS 2011/O/2574, UEFA v. Olympique des Alpes SA / FC Sion, award of 31 January 2012.

CAS 2012/A/2789, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) v. I., Venezuelan National Paralympic Committee (COPAVEN), Venezuelan National Anti-Doping Organization (VNADO) & Sport Federation for Visually Impaired Athletes in Venezuela (FEPOCIVE), award of 17 December 2012.

CAS 2012/A/2979, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) v. Nirupama Devi Laishram & National Anti-Doping Agency of India (NADA), award of 8 November 2013.

CAS 2014/A/3571, Asafa Powell v. Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), award of 7 July 2015.

CAS 2014/A/3572 Sherone Simpson v. Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO), award of 7 July 2015.

CAS 2014/A/3639 Amar Muralidharan v. Indian National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA), Indian National Dope Testing Laboratory, Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, award of 8 April 2015.

CAS 2014/A/3869 World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) v. Amit and National Anti-Doping Agency of India (NADA), award of 23 November 2015.

CAS 2015/A/4059, WADA v. Thomas Bellchambers et al., AFL & ASADA, award of 11 January 2016.

CAS 2017/A/4949, Tatyana Chernova v. International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), award of 18 July 2017.

CAS 2018/0/5794, Mokgadi Caster Semenya v. International Association of Athletics Federations, award of 30 April 2019.

CAS 2018/0/5798, Athletics South Africa v. International Association of Athletics Federations, award of 30 April 2019.

ECtHR, Ali Riza & others v. Turkey, Application No 5809/08.{%22itemid%22:[%22001-200548%22]}.

ECtHR, Mutu and Pechstein v. Switzerland, Application No. 40575/10 and 67474/10.{%22itemid%22:[%22001-186828%22]}.

ECtHR, Ali Riza v. Switzerland, Application No. 74989/11.{%22tabview%22:[%22notice%22],%22itemid%22:[%22001-211309%22]}.

ECtHR, Platini v Switzerland, Application No 525/18.{%22itemid%22:[%22001-201734%22]}.

ECtHR, Semanya v Switzerland, Application No. 10934/21.{%22itemid%22:[%22001-225768%22]}.

SFT 4P.217/1992, Judgment of 15 March 1993 (Gundel).

SFT 4C_44/1996, Judgment of 31 October 1996 (Nagel).

SFT 4P.230/2000, Judgment of 7 February 2001 (Stanley Roberts).

SFT 4P.267-270/2002, Judgment of 27 May 2003 (Lazutina / Danilova).

SFT 4A_148/2006, Judgment of 10 January 2007.

SFT 4P.172/2006, Judgment of 22 March 2007 (Cañas).

SFT 4A_460/2008, Judgment of 12 January 2009 (Dodô).

SFT 4A_358/2009, Judgment of 06 November 2009 (Busch).

SFT 4A_456/2009, Judgment of 03 May 2010 (Athletics South Africa).

SFT 4A_234/2010, Judgment of 29 October 2010 (Valverde II).

SFT 4A_428/2011, Judgment of 13 February 2012 (Wickmayer).

SFT 4A_558/2011, Judgment of 27 March 2012 (Matuzalem).

SFT 4A_110/2012, Judgment of 9 October 2012 (Paulissen).

SFT 4A_102/2016, Judgment of 27 September 2016 (Essendon).

SFT 4A_248_2019 & 4A 398_2019, Judgment of 25 August 2020 (Caster Semenya & ASAF v. IAAF).

International Bar Association Rules (IBA Rules) on the Taking of Evidence in International Arbitration, 17 December 2021.

Olympic Charter, 15 October 2023.

South African Medical Association. SAMA support to Caster Semenya. SAMA Media release. 28 February 2019.

Strasburg Observer, Sports Law Blog, The Future of the Rule of Law in Sport. 20 March 2020.

United Nations Human Rights Special Procedures. Open letter to IAAF. 24 Sept 2018.

World Medical Association. International Code of Medical Ethics. Adopted by the 3rd General Assembly of the World Medical Association, London, England, October 1949 (as amended).

WMA Declaration on Principles of Health Care for Sports Medicine. Adopted by the 34th World Medical Association General Assembly, Lisbon, Portugal, September/October 1981.

World Medical Association. WMA urges physicians not to implement the IAAF rules on classifying women athletes. 5 May 2019.




How to Cite